Skip to main content

Full text of "History And Human Relation"

See other formats


a blossom that blooms for its own sake, not as the mere
means to some utilitarian end. Though life confronts
us with grave dilemmas and there seems to be need at
times for great militancy, so that even on occasion it
seems necessary to treat men with great violence, yet
these terrible necessities do not abrogate the law of
love—they merely multiply the number of the factors
that it has to take into consideration. Even if we have
to fight men we are not permitted to hate them or to
forsake compassion; and this is the distinction which
is capable of making a real difference to our conduct at
pivotal moments in human conflicts. In any case there
is too much violence in a world where the self-righteous
so often without compassion. St. John was
right if it was he who in his old age went dotingly about
the world, and when he met people in the flame of setting
suns would put his hands on their heads saying only:
" Brethren, love one another ".

Even so, there are grades and forms of human affection,
and we know that evil can come about if men love
anything in the world too much—their country or their
family, their college or their religious denomination,
their art or their science, and even the cause of civilisation
as they may happen to conceive it. We may say that
we can rectify such aberrations by taking care that in
the world we will love nothing save human beings.
We may decide to act (as I believe we ought to do), and
to carry out all our thinking, on the basis that within
the limits of the terrestrial order nothing but live human
beings really exists—human beings who get badly hurt
sometimes and can become terribly knotted and gnarled,